Warner's TheoBlog

Thoughts from a disciple who writes


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How to create your very own Jesus

In order to create your very own Jesus, take the following ingredients and follow the instructions below.

  1. The Jesus who is in the Bible.
  2. The expectations and morals of the society you live in.
  3. The things that you prefer to do.
  4. The things that you think are good and right.
  5. 1 pair of philosophical scissors

Pile all of the ingredients on top of each other, ensuring that the ‘big’ Jesus of the Bible is at the bottom. (Inevitably, the Jesus stuff will be far bigger than all of the other things). You will notice that the edges of the Jesus stuff will stick out, overlapping the rest of the things in the pile. Take your philosophical scissors and cut away any of the Jesus stuff that sticks out. (After all, if it doesn’t fit then you don’t need it do you?)

What you will be left with is a Jesus who is exactly the same shape as you think he should be. This new Jesus will fit in comfortably with your life and will never make you feel guilty. In fact, you will hardly notice him at all. (Admittedly, he is not the same Jesus who lived or was sent by God to save the world, but at least he is not uncomfortable or inconvenient and you can fool yourself into thinking that you are a good person because this new Jesus looks a lot like you).

Alternatively, you can access any number of pre-packaged ‘Jesus substitutes’ from a vast selection of self-improvement books, TV channels and some bloke down the pub who is always happy to tell you what he believes and thinks that because he believes it to be true it is true.

Or… as a really radical idea… you could find the Jesus of the Bible and follow Him because He is real. He might not be comfortable or convenient, but He will offer you life in all its fulness. Even if the life he offers is a little different to the life you think that you want.

The best plan is to follow Jesus and be a disciple!

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Who is my neighbour?

I was interested to hear about a new UK government initiative to help the lonely and isolated people in our communities. The Social Care Minister, Norman Lamb, wants neighbourhood watch groups to practice ‘neighbourliness” in connection with those who are older and housebound.

Leaving aside questions of budgets, priorities, and resources (important though they are, this is not a blog to rant about politics), it seems to me that there is a far more fundamental issue at question here. When government has to encourage the citizens of its country to do something that has previously been a present reality, there is a problem.

What has happened in the UK that has led us to a place where loving the people in our street is an exception?

As our society has become increasingly secular and individualistic, the lonely and the lost are overlooked. Evangelical atheists bemoan the influence of the Christian faith and speak about the ‘essential goodness of humanity’, only to witness the marginalized made increasingly marginal and the gap between rich and poor widen all of the time. Our society loves less than it used to. I believe that this situation has a great deal to do with the waning influence of the Christian faith.

‘Jesus replied: ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’

It is a fundamental part of the Christian faith to be a good neighbour. Offering love and support to those around us, not just to our family and friends. Time and again the Bible commands us to care for foreigners, strangers and people who live around us. To offer love and hospitality, whether we know a person or not.

This seems a very obvious point, but a vital that we consider it.

As Christians, we should love our neighbour.

Not because we are told to, but because it is the natural overflow of discipleship. If we do not have love for our neighbour, then there is something very wrong with the root of our faith in Jesus.

The Bible commands love for our neighbour.

Love is not a gift to be practiced, it is a fruit that results from good roots and healthy growth. We are not encouraged to interact with our neighbour, we are commanded to interact with them. Love is what flows in to the relationships that we have with those around us because it flows out of the relationship we have with our Father God.

As Christians, there is no greater opportunity to show the truth of the power of God’s love than through the relationships we have with those around us. There is no excuse, claiming that one is too busy with church work to drink a glass of wine with the people next door or a cup of tea with the lonely older person. To claim ‘busy-ness’ as a justification for being disconnected with the people around us is a disgusting travesty of righteousness.

Jesus commands us… Love one another as I love you.

Lets talk to our neighbours. Eat with them. Drink with them. Talk and share with them. Then they will become friends. Perhaps they will become friends of Jesus. Everyone is a winner!